[… “Number One Singles of 1973” continued from Part II]
July to September
• Peters & Lee – Welcome Home
Lennie Peters and Dianne Lee first found fame on the ITV talent show “Opportunity Knocks“, winning seven weeks in a row.
Lennie may well have been been sarcastically nicknamed “Lucky” as a teenager. When he was five he was blinded in one eye in a car accident. Then, at the age of sixteen, he was hit by a brick in the other eye.. and ended up completely sightless.
He became a pianist on the London pub scene, where he met Lee, one half of a popular dance act with her sister. They decided to perfom together as a duet.
After the Opportunity Knocks success the pair were signed up by the Philips label and the repeatedly-inspid “Welcome Home” was released. The song – originally a French song translated into English – quickly rose up the charts reaching the Number One slot and staying there for one week. (Is that all? To me, it seemed to be bloomin’-well everywhere during 1973?!)
• Gary Glitter – I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am)
It’s a shame that Paul Gadd – aka Gary Glitter – allowed his personal obsessions to completely undermine his undoubted and unmatched success as a 70’s pop star.
Sadly, the very name “Gary Glitter” has now become synonymous with his various convictions for child pornography and illegal sex with a succession of underage girls in Britain, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Back in the 1970’s Glitter – always in trademark silver spandex, platform boots and sparkles – had one of the longest chart runs of any solo singer. He charted 26 singles, twelve of which were consecutive Top 10 hits, and spent a total of 180 weeks in the charts, .
Along with Bowie, the Sweet, Marc Bolan and Slade he was the personification of all things “Glam”
Now, in Britain, you hardly ever hear his music. His reputation precedes him and although not officially ‘banned’ from the airwaves, I think it’s fair to say that he is very much persona non grata.
However, in the USA, I still hear his music regularly! His trademark “Rock and Roll (Part Two)” continues to be adopted as a chant – it’s that “Hey!” hook – at Reds games to gee up the crowds.
I sit there like I am the only one ‘appalled’ at hearing it, but equally amused by the fact that Major League Baseball has no clue as to its latter-day connotations and, presumably, are still paying public broadcast royalties to a convicted sex offender.
Rock stomper “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I am)” has, since its original release, been covered by Green Jellÿ & Hulk Hogan, Brownsville Station, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, The Methadones and Girlschool… proving that perhaps the legacy of the song will last far longer than the legacy of Glitter himself.
• Donny Osmond – Young Love
Of course, in retrospect, there’s extraordinary irony in the fact that Gary Glitter’s tenure at the pinnacle of the charts would be replaced by a song entitled “Young Love”.
Sometimes, you can’t make it up.
It’s Donny. Top of the chart heap. Again. Sales of toothpaste continue to rise.
• Wizzard – Angel Fingers
A second spell at the top for Roy Wood’s Wizzard, talked about a day or so ago.
Rumour has it that the recording of “Angel Fingers” used up more time in the EMI studios than the whole of Paul McCartney & Wings’ 1973 “Band on the Run” album.
Hearing it now you have to wonder how. And why.
• Simon Park Orchestra – Eye Level (Theme to Van Der Valk)
Aaaagh… it’s that bloody earworm again
C’mon everybody… whistle along now!
[“Number One Singles of 1973” concludes in Part IV]